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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More "Dog Whispering"

At my favorite neighborhood café, I kindly asked two young ladies if I could give them a short training lesson, after their dominant Chihuahua became aggressive when I introduced myself to him. It seemed he had a combination of dominance, fear, and territorial aggression. After the dog bit my fist (which I made so that fingers would be spared), I quickly put my left index finger around his tiny collar, and constrained him on my lap in this painless manner. After expressing his stinky anal glands and urinating all over me, I used my right hand to gently correct him until he was calm and submissive.
The two young ladies were very pleased. I made sure the dog could not see his owners (both sitting to my right), and would allow him to see them only once he was calm. He did not dare show me his teeth, growl, or bite afterward.
After his owners told me that this tough, little guy showed aggression towards larger dogs, I had another dog owner walk by a few times with both of her tail-wagging black Labs, as I held the little guy on the ground. The Labs very kindly introduced themselves to the Chihuahua, with barely a peep from the latter. We did this about a half dozen times.
This was the first time his owners could remember that he did not lunge or bark at the larger dogs. I insisted, rather drilled it into them, that these corrections must continue with them, lest his aggressive behaviour persist. I hope the bite on my knuckle and ensuing sepsis were not in vain.

An absolutely adorable Chihuahua.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Horner's syndrome

.... revisited, again, for the third time. Not that I'm complaining or anything, it seems Horner's is quite common. With over 70 million dogs in the US and 4 million in Canada, I would imagine that a significant number have been afflicted with Horner's syndrome at some point in their life. Have you heard of this syndrome? Has your dog or cat (or you) had Horner's? If so, tell me about it. Any questions? I'll try to help you out the best I can.
PS: See my post "Iranian kisses woman's breast," and the comments. By golly, I've been branded a racist.

A woman with Horner's syndrome (see previous two posts for photos of cat with Horner's).
Addendum: The eyes of two different colors, called heterochromia, is NOT part of Horner's syndrome. Note the small pupil and droopy eyelids. In cats and dogs, we'd also see the 3rd eyelid protruding. A sunken eyeball is often a subtler sign of Horner's.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Polo horses drop dead

It appears a pharmacy's mixing error is to blame for the death of 21 horses in Florida this week. Many of the horses started dropping like flies at a prestigious Polo Club in Palm Beach. Five horses not given a mixture of vitamins were the only ones that survived.
How utterly devastating. While this does not appear to be a deliberate intoxication of the animals, it is nonetheless heart-wrenching.
If I can digress: I'd rather see a horse running free in a field than chasing a ball in one.

I'm ok with this.


"Guppy," 48 inches X 36 inches, acrylic and mixed media on wood panel.
Not vet stuff, sorry.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Not in the bunny rabbit sense. However, I have been busy painting my butt off the last few weeks. Some of my artwork will be going up at Red Rocket Coffee May 1st. How exciting!

Untitled, 36 X 24 inches, acrylic and mixed media on wood panel.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Puppies from China

Today the Toronto Star reported that a Toronto woman has spent thousands of dollars bringing seven puppies from China to Canada. Our country (continent actually) has enough rescue organizations which could have used that money to save a few cats and dogs. Perhaps a few fractures could have been repaired on a few Canadian rescue dogs (who will now have to be euthanized)? I am certain that this woman could have expended the same energy to find them a home in China.
Of course, most of us are gaga over the (never-ending) sensationalist Star coverage: adorable, happy little puppies in their recent Canadian photo-op. This story and photo likely turned thousands into doting, sniveling mashed potatoes.
This woman thought with her heart, not her head.

Dogs that could use a few bucks.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Acromegaly in a cat.

My 14 year-old domestic short-haired cat, Isaac, has been diabetic for a little over a year. He was well-controlled, and even went into diabetic remission, meaning that he was completely off insulin for a few months (cured, essentially).
Then he started drinking and urinating more, a clear sign that his glucose (sugar) was high. Chronic stress could lead to insulin resistance, however, this cat is virtually never stressed. He's the coolest cat I've ever met (no bias there). A herd of wildebeest can run through the house and he would not bat an eye. Three dogs were recently brought over to the house while family was here for dinner. Isaac lazily plopped himself in the middle of the living room while three dogs goaded him in vain to initiate a game of dog-chase-cat. No such luck.
While his insulin requirements crept up with no drop in his blood glucose, I became strongly suspicious of an underlying problem. Possibilities include an infection (anywhere in the body), a tumor, or another endocrine (glandular) problem, like Cushing's for example, and other issues.
Extensive testing, including an abdominal ultrasound and chest x-rays revealed nothing - not an iota of an inkling of a suspicion of a problem, including Cushing's.
He started to become even more pot-bellied and when he would hitherto eat nothing but the right cat food, Isaac started asking us for table food: pizza, (the occasional) McDonald's hamburger, risotto, filet mignon, chicken breast, deli turkey slices, yams, fries, and the list goes on.
This prompted me to suspect a disease (some say close to a third of diabetic cats are affected) called acromegaly, also known as gigantism. Test results came in today and Isaac's numbers were unequivocally consistent with the disease. This explains the consistently high blood glucose. Besides the high sugar, I am relieved that he is clinically well and he could stay this way for months to years.
Here, the vet has diagnosed acromegaly for the first time - in his own cat.

The same woman, young and normal in appearance on the left; older with signs of acromegaly in the middle and on the right (pronounced chin and underbite, enlarged head, and severely thickened fingers, etc.).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Pet Shop Boys and PETA

Last week, it was reported that PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, had asked the famed 80s British pop band, The Pet Shop Boys, if they would change their name to "The Rescue Shelter Boys."
Why not "The Vegan Tofu Granola-Crunchy Boys," or the "I forgot that I'm a Human Living on Planet Earth Boys?"
PETA, land your UFO back on solid ground and get the heck back to Earth.
Temple Grandin, who has revolutionized the way animals are lead to slaughter, eats meat - have the nutbars at PETA boycotted her books??

In addition to many of their other shenanigans, PETA are seeking to have the word fish changed to sea-kitten. This way, it seems, we would be less likely to consume something called a sea-kitten. The only problem with this is that all the PET SHOPS would have sea-kittens flopping around in their front windows. Nothing cute about that....

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Very sadly, a man driving a pick-up truck struck a rider and her horse in Collingwood, Ontario. The rider sustained minor injuries while her horse did not fare nearly as well. The full extent of what transpired is not known, however, we do know that it was a man in the truck, and that he fled the scene after the incident.
Let's hope they catch him.

Jessica Ruppel, riding Bella. A brief description of the horse's injuries and the suffering she endured after being hit nearly brought tears to my eyes.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Dog Portraits

By now, most know me as a guy who is not into eccentric "doggie culture." That said, the leftopath Toronto Star recently ran an article on pet portraits. Far from cheesy, these pieces of art demonstrate incredible talent. Beautiful and original, they really capture some personality and charm. Here are some examples.

A Katie Sonnichsen portrait. Fantastic.

Paul Boddum's work. Apparently, this is his dog. What incredible talent!